Soul liberty - Just a nice theory?

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by trying2understand, May 30, 2003.

  1. trying2understand

    trying2understand
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    I asked this a couple of times in the other thread on soul liberty and did not get much of a response. Perhaps it will get more attention as a separate thread.


    I propose that "soul liberty" is a theoretical concept that is not actually practiced in reality.

    What would be the reponse in your church to a deacon who, after prayerful study of Scripture, started teaching and preaching a belief that is contrary to your church's beliefs?

    Would he be allowed to continue to lead a Bible study group and argue for his contrary belief?

    Would he be allowed to teach children in the church?

    Would he be allowed to continually bring up his contrary belief as a member of a study group?

    Would he be allowed to speak openly about his belief at social functions in the church?

    Or would he be asked to stop?

    Ron
     
  2. DHK

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    Ron,
    I answered those questions for you on page 8 of the soul liberty thread. The post was at 2:11 p.m., May 26
     
  3. trying2understand

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    Yup. I was just hoping that someone else would give it a shot. [​IMG]

    The above is only part of DHK's response, but I think it pretty well expresses his position.

    He seems to be saying:

    The deacon in question would be "corrected"

    After correction he did not stop so he was "excommunicated".

    So where is the "soul liberty"?

    It would appear here then that DHK's church has a private interpretation of Scripture that they wish to impose on an individual person.

    That seems to me to be the exact opposite of soul liberty.

    Am I not correct?

    Ron

    [ May 31, 2003, 12:38 AM: Message edited by: trying2understand ]
     
  4. DHK

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    You define yourself by what you believe. If this person had beliefs that were more similar to a Nazarene church than he should have joined one. Every person reads our statement of faith before joining our church to make sure that they are in agreement with us. He read it too, said he was in agreement, then changed his mind?! Would you join J.W. Kingdom Hall holding Catholic beiiefs, and then call yourself a J.W.?
    You define yourself by what you believe.
     
  5. thessalonian

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    I guess that's a big ten four Ron buddy. Over and out. Sure took long enough to get an indirect answer outa im.
     
  6. trying2understand

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    But aren't you supposed to continue to study Scripture and grow in knowledge and understanding?

    Is it not conceivable that one's understanding could then change?

    And if one finds a new understanding through study of Scripture, under the prayerful guidance of the Holy Spirit, their only choice is to either shutup or get out?

    Your faith statement trumps the Holy Spirit?

    Does your church have an infallible understanding of Scripture in the areas which it claims through your faith statement?

    Again, how is this soul liberty?
     
  7. DHK

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    Thes. and T2U

    1. What would your church or the Catholic Church do if a member blatantly denied the trinity and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ?

    2. What would you do if some of your church believed that purgatory was a place?

    3. What would you do (i.e., your church)if others of your church believed that purgatory was only a state?
    DHK
     
  8. neal4christ

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    I don't really want to get involved in this because I haven't really thought about it, but it seems to me that the concept of soul liberty is not something that depends on someone else. It is not something that can be taken or given, it is there. So while there are ramifications for someone taking a stand, that person has the soul liberty to believe what they do. There is always a choice for that person. Give in to the 'correction' or hold on to what they have decided to believe. Soul liberty, IMHO, does not depend on anyone else but the individual. But that is just my two cents worth. [​IMG]

    Neal
     
  9. trying2understand

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    Apples and oranges, DHK.

    Soul liberty is your thing.

    The Catholic Church claims the authority through Christ to authentically interpret Scripture.

    Your church on the other hand claims the right of the individual to interpret Scripture and also says that no church can have a "private interpretation".

    But shutting people up or throwing them out when they disagree is proof that such a church in deed has a "private interpretation".

    [ May 31, 2003, 01:37 AM: Message edited by: trying2understand ]
     
  10. DHK

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    It is practiced in reality, and I will proceed to give you some examples.
    This happened. Our statement of faith teaches the doctrine that you know as "once saved always saved." In other words the gift of God is eternal life, and God is not going to take it away from you. One of our members began to teach otherwise and spread his doctrine to otherwise. We took the appropriate steps according to Mat.18 to try to stop and correct his belief, but he would change or desist from spreading this doctrine. At a business meeting, therefore, he was disciplined from the church.

    However there are many things that the pastor and I disagree on, and have the soul liberty to do so. As I mentioned no two people agree exactly the same on 100% of everything. I ask you: Will the two witnesses of Revelation 11 prophecy during the second half of tribulation or the first half? He happens to believe the second half, and I happen to believe the first half. I could be wrong. But this will not affect our fellowship. And neither one will be disciplined for believing differently. We have the soul liberty to do so. I dare say that Catholics probably don't have a clue what I am talking about, and don't even bother to study such things out.

    Concerning the one that believed you can lose your salvation--absolutely not!!
    The obvious answer is no.
    A heretic after the first and second admonition, reject.

    Of course not. Heresy is heresy. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

    No

    He would first be asked. Then would be commanded.
    DHK
     
  11. BobRyan

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    Correct!

    The Jews cast out the Christian Jews by the same rule. They argued (as many of our Catholic bretheren do today) that the magesterium of the ONE TRUE CHURCH sovereignly started by God at Sinai was to determine what was truth. The 12 apostles and the other followers of the Messiah would "have to go". In fact during Christ's life they were "cast out of the synagogue".

    They even state regarding those who followed Christ "These people are accursed - not knowing the Scriptures".

    So having a church declare that its magesterium defines "all truth" is nothing new.

    But God's Word says "you have no need for anyone to instruct you for HIS ANNOINTING instructs you" 1John 2:27. So if we find a member of the Catholic church being led to truth by the Holy Spirit that does not agree with the RC magesterium - we would tend to conclude that this was "that principle in action".

    But you are challenging this view saying that even for non-Catholics this rule "must end" if it is "my own church" that is in question - our Christian Magesterium that is being opposed. (A good point on your part by the way)

    But if we look at your position in that -- It is "as if" you approved it in the case of the Early Christians leaving the synagogue and then "no more approval" for the Catholic reformers like Luther and those who followed them.
    However since Paul predicted apostacy in the Christian church (2Thess 2) we have to applaud those Catholic reformers for attempting to turn the Catholic church back to the Bible.

    However - staying with your point - you are arguing that non-Catholic do the same thing. Drawing the line when it comes to the church they attend. (A good argument on your part as I said).

    One question for you -- Where is God in all of that in your view? Is He asleep? Are we really left to the imagination of the Catholic church or the Lutheran church or the JW church or the local Baptist church in your view?

    What if God "really works" in the way He described above in 1John 2??

    How does that fit in your model? In mine it would mean that the same Holy Spirit guiding the deacon would be reaching out to the church leaders as well. They "might" choose to listen - or they might rebell against that same Holy Spirit. They have "free will".

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  12. trying2understand

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    My understanding of soul liberty is that the individual has the right to interpret Scripture and believe as they choose but are still accountable to God.

    It becomes meaningless, if at the same time, this group of people who claim to value soul liberty then drive you out because you choose to believe differently than they do.

    Soul liberty is all about a church not having a "personal interpretation" of Scripture. Meaning they don't get to claim to having the only correct interpretation.

    As I pointed out, this is not how churches operate in the real world, Baptist, nondenominational, or otherwise.
     
  13. DHK

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    It is not apples and oranges. If soul liberty is "our thing" as you claim, then the denial of it is "your thing." Even if you don't like Foxes Book of Martyrs it presents enough evidence of the denial of soul liberty by the Catholic Church to convince anyone that there is no liberty in the Catholic Church. There is always William Tyndale, John Wycliffe, John Huss, John Bunyan. Even scientists were silenced like Copernicus.
    DHK
     
  14. neal4christ

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    See, I would not include that in soul liberty. Soul liberty is individual, not corporate.

    Also, I wouldn't say it is meaningless if they cast you out. It still doesn't nullify that you can choose the way you are going to believe. Yes, that person is responsible for his belief. Soul liberty is not something the church gives or takes though. Just the fact they cast you out instead of killing you shows that at least they acknowledge you can see things differently than them. [​IMG]

    I don't know if it is soul liberty or not, but it is clear that we each individually choose what we are going to believe. If you go along with the crowd or take a stand, it is still a choice. Yes, those choices have ramifications. But we all are able to make those choices. That is what I see soul liberty. But an appeal to soul liberty does not make your conclusions necessarily correct. There is only one truth. That is why I wouldn't want to harp on soul liberty, it leads to subjectivism and existentialism.

    Neal
     
  15. DHK

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    Yes, every day.
    Our statement of faith will not change. Your question is like asking: "Is it not conceivable that one's understanding of the Resurrection or the Deity of Christ could then change?" If they don't believe in these things in the first place they ought not to be members. Our members are all first saved, then baptized (in that order).

    I got saved. And under prayerful guidance of the Holy Spirit, and through study of the Scriptures, I was led to leave the Catholic Church and join an IFB church. As I read the Bible I came to the honest conclusion that I had to make one of two choices in life: Follow the Bible or follow the Catholic Church. I chose the Bible.

    (2 Tim 1:12 KJV) I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

    The statements made on the statement of faith are infallibly true.

    You're the one asking the questions. [​IMG]

    In this exchange, the best example of soul liberty was my own testimony. I got saved. Then when I saw the errors of the Catholic Church I left the Church without persecution from the Church. Soul liberty allows me to believe what I believe to be right without fear of persecution. As I continued to study the Bible my beliefs concerning many things changed.

    2Cor.5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

    I was free to believe as the Lord led me to believe. Soul liberty entitles one to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord without fear of persecution.
    DHK
     
  16. Born Again Catholic

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    Haven't followed the complete discussion but it seems that certain individuals do practice soul liberty.

    Rather than abandoning themselves to God they are committed to the, Theology of I, giving themselves more power of religous matters than any Apostle or Pope ever had.

    They will stay with a church only as long as it agrees with their made up individual beliefs. And they have no problem if a Church kicks them out because they are certain their made up individual beliefs are right. And they can just start a new church.

    This Theology of I, reliance on self instead of God, Individualism, Soul Liberty, is why you get 30,000 denominations teaching so many varieties of truth.

    This Theology of I is why instead of the development of doctrine, you get the complete reversal of previously held doctrine. Here are two of my favorites.

    1-Their teaching on end times with the rapture they teach is a recent invention, ~170 years, completely reversing 300 years of previously taught truth in protestant circles.

    Their teaching on birth control change ~ 70 years ago, completely undermining 1900 years of unanimous teaching among all christian denominations.

    Soul liberty is just another way of saying I want to participate in the rebellion of Korah, I as an individual can reject any established authority (Apostles, Bishops etc) and I am here to cause divisions. I I I , the Theology of I.

    If protestants could just look into the future and see what this, Theology of I, will lead their individual churches to teach within the next 200+ years they would come running back home.

    They would be just as shocked as Baptists,Methodists, Lutherans etc from the 1700's being shown their church's current beliefs. Not because of the development of any doctrine but because of the complete contradiction of previously taught truths.
    :eek: :confused:

    God Bless

    [ May 31, 2003, 10:54 AM: Message edited by: Born Again Catholic ]
     
  17. Eladar

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    If people trusted God to preserve His people, they would not put their trust in the institutions of man. [​IMG]
     
  18. Clint Kritzer

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    Hi Ron -

    What I believe you are misunderstanding about the concept of soul liberty is that it works on an individual level. Much of the discussion here has actually been about the related concept of "soul competency" which states that each believer is competent to understand the Word of God for himself.

    Soul liberty, on the other hand, is God given and extends to every human being as we were all created in His Image. Soul liberty applies to believers, pagans, atheist, Muslims, etc. Soul liberty says that no ecclesiastical power can make someone believe something that they will not accept.

    In your example in your initial post, yes, the man would be forced to refrain from teaching contrary to a church's doctrine. The idea in the "assembly" is that the congregation be like-minded. Hence, doctrinal statements are drawn up to define the course of a church's mission.

    However, the church could not force that man to believe otherwise if he was truly convicted upon the idea. His soul liberty can not be encroached upon by the will of the church. In such a situation, he should remove himself from that assembly and join with another that is like-minded to his ideas.

    An example within your own ranks is those that hold to the "orthodox" position. They hold to their own convictions and have thus seperated themselves into seperate assemblies.

    Another example that comes to mind is the heavy resistance that VaticanII received in the '60s. Some members of the Catholic church felt that the teachings and pronouncements of such were in error. Hence, the term "fundamentalists" at that time referred to those who did want change within the Catholic church and nearly 4 decades later, your denomination still has the "neo-Catholics."

    http://www.dailycatholic.org/issue/2002Oct/oct9tra.htm

    http://www.cathinsight.com/apologetics/debates/sippo/

    These are all examples of one's soul liberty coming into play against the teachings of a specific church's doctrine or beliefs.

    Historically we see examples of soul liberty forcing change within the ranks of Christianity, and, indeed, the Catholic church. Perhaps the most blaring example is Luther's 95 theses. The 90th paragraph stated, "These questions are serious matters of conscience to the laity. To suppress them by force alone, and not to refute them by giving reasons, is to expose the church and the pope to the ridicule of their enemies, and to make Christian people unhappy." When ordered to recant, Luther replied, "Unless I can be instructed with evidence from the Holy Scriptures…. I cannot and will not recant. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen."

    Luther was, of course, excommunicated. Nonetheless, he was determined that he was correct and his assertion of soul liberty against the Catholic doctrine of paying penance for the dead led to the Reformation. Ironically, the Council at Trent reconfirmed their position on indulgences 50 years later with the statement, "Since the power of granting indulgences has been given to the Church by Christ, and since the Church from the earliest times has made use of this Divinely given power, the holy synod teaches and ordains that the use of indulgences, as most salutary to Christians and as approved by the authority of the councils, shall be retained in the Church; and it further pronounces anathema against those who either declare that indulgences are useless or deny that the Church has the power to grant them."

    Despite this, I cannot find that monetary indulgences are required in the modern day for the dead. Luther's soul liberty had an effect. Though he is probably still considered anathema to the Catholics, his demands were more or less met.


    I also saw on the other thread that Tyndale's name was brought up. William Tyndale was murdered for heresy because he was convicted that he bring the Scriptures to the common man in his own language. His goal in his own language was, "I defy the pope and all his laws; and, if God spares me, I will one day make the boy that drives the plow in England to know more of the Scriptures than the pope does!"

    Finishing his work in 1534, despite major opposition from the papacy, he brought his convictions to fruition. Where Wycliffe had failed, Tyndale succeeded, at the cost of his life in 1536.

    The results? The Catholic Church, recognizing the wildfire effect of Tyndale handing that plowboy the Scriptures against the will of the Catholic church, printed the The Douay-Rheims Bible published in 1582. Tyndale's soul liberty influenced the same organization that killed him. In fact, the papacy made a complete reversal in VaticanII and actually encoraged, for the first time, Bible study!

    So whether the person agrees with a church's doctrine or not has little influence on their soul liberty, however, the individual's soul liberty can have a profound effect on the church. I am reminded of the words of Gamaliel in Acts 5:
     
  19. Ps104_33

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    It seems rather absurd for a Catholic to disparage private judgement (soul liberty) because a Catholic's belief rests ultimately on an act of private judgement as well and can have no higher certainty than whatever that is capable of yielding. If, as a Catholic, you use your soul liberty on no other question, you must use it on this one question:
    Are you bound to submit implicitly on the authority of the Church of Rome?
    Absolute certainty on this question can only be had on terms of being infallible one's self.

    If you say:
    "I am absolutely certain that what I believe is right because I believe in what the magesterium of the Church teaches and the magesterium cannot be wrong."

    How came you to believe that the Magesterium cannot be wrong?

    You will probably quote Matt 16:18

    Then there begins a circular arguement. How do you know that that interpretation is the correct one?
    The Church says so you say. How do you know the Church is right?
    The Scriptures teach it. Ad infititum.

    So you must use soul liberty to decide that the Roman Church is to be your final authority in all matters of faith and practice.
     
  20. trying2understand

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    DHK, I am asking you, where is the soul liberty in your church today?

    Please, let's stay on topic.
     

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